In a recent commentary, Don Gale makes an astonishingly ignorant comparison between the traumatic experiences of stillbirth, miscarriage and abortion.
As someone who has had an abortion, runs a support group for post-abortive women, and works closely with a dear friend who has experienced miscarriage, I share our stories to expose falsehoods and inaccuracies in Mr. Gale’s piece:
When I became unexpectedly pregnant at age 17, my boyfriend and I did not reach out to family or friends. Fearful and immature, we instead walked into a Planned Parenthood and ended the life of our child. Even though I was crying, nobody asked if I was unsure or offered to counsel me on other options. Instead, I was quickly ushered through the procedure despite my obvious distress.
After the abortion, we sobbed in the car knowing we had just killed our baby. Not a “lump of cells,” as Gale described. There was no going back. That day brought me into a truly dark place and led me to make self-destructive decisions, as I soon began to spiral out of control.
My friend Deanna had an experience much different from mine. She has described what it was like to hold her tiny 9-week baby in her hands she had lost to a miscarriage. To simultaneously marvel at the tiny perfectly formed features while also mourning the loss of life. This was no “lump of cells” either, but a delicately formed human child. Her child. It is unthinkable that any adult can still use the medically inaccurate “lump of cells” argument.
According to Gale, there is no real difference between my friend’s experience and mine. He states, “The end result for all three events is the same: a developing fetus is aborted.” In reality, these are very different. Medically, terms like “spontaneous abortion” are used to refer to a miscarriage. This is why Gale can claim all three experiences end up with an “aborted fetus.” However, his semantics are inconsistent with Utah law, which states that abortion is intentional killing and does not include miscarriage, stillbirth or treating an ectopic pregnancy. To equate these is unconscionable.
As for labeling those in the pro-life movement “careless busy-bodies,” we are busy, but we are anything but careless. Before spouting thoughtless clichés about pro-lifers, take the time to stand with us on the sidewalk outside abortion clinics as we offer real choices to women in crisis. I wish every day that someone had been on the sidewalk offering help to me that day; if they had, my son would be alive.
We believe women deserve better than abortion (and its devastating consequences) and that all children deserve to live. My past abortion allows me to offer these women love and understanding, as I was once in their shoes. Never have I seen the hate, judgment or condemnation towards these women that Gale speaks of from anyone I work with. His description of the pro-life movement is decades behind reality. Attend a baby shower we throw for a woman in need, and allow yourself to understand the pro-life cause before spewing pro-choice platitudes about what we do or do not do.
My friend and I will always feel the pain of losing a child, but I have the added burden of knowing I was complicit in the death of mine. Rather than embrace abortion as a supposed “right,” we wish to spare women the pain I (and many other post- abortive women) experience by offering them something better.
Don Gale can stand aside as we work to help women and their babies have the best chance.
Lindsey Tafengatoto is the outreach director for Pro-Life Utah, runs Utah Abortion Healing and is a trained sidewalk advocate.